Mayor James Palmer told members of the combined authority he will defer a £5,000 rise in his allowance and the possibility of a pension until May 2021.

Mayor James Palmer to defer £5,000 pay rise and job pension until May 2021. Picture: ROBERT ALEXANDER.Mayor James Palmer to defer £5,000 pay rise and job pension until May 2021. Picture: ROBERT ALEXANDER.

The decision was announced at their annual meeting following a short but angry disagreement about whether or not it was correct to offer Mayor Palmer the opportunity to regard his fixed-term contract of employment as pensionable.

Cllr Bridget Smith asked Kim Sawyer, combined authority interim chief executive officer, said: "Is it correct procedure and common-place among other Metro Mayors in the country to be offered such a pension?"

Ms Sawyer said: "No, it's not the normal position; but it is entirely within the powers of the board to grant it."

Cllr Smith replied: "I don't see why we should offer an incentive like this to the mayor if it's not common practice and isn't done elsewhere."

However, Cllr Anna Bailey commented: "I couldn't disagree more - what if - God forbid - the Mayor was run over by a bus tomorrow?

"He would receive no remuneration for the work he's already done.

"Surely, if we advertised the position today the pension incentive would be included?"

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Mayor Palmer, who had remained quiet until then, announced: "If it eases matters for the board then I'm quite prepared to defer the question of my pension, and the £5,000 increase in my allowance until May 2021.

"I would just say that I have no other pensionable employment at this time."

Cllr Herbert Lewis called for a vote on the matter, but before that could be taken, Cllr Chris Boden said: "I'm disturbed that my fellow councillor should have the need for a vote.

"Our mayor has announced at a public meeting he's willing to defer his allowance and pension - his word alone should be good enough, without the need for a vote."

The request was withdrawn, and it was noted that the mayor had deferred both matters to May 2021.

Mayor James Palmer receives an annual allowance of £75,000.

The increase of £5,000 would have taken his annual allowance to £80,000.

The combined authority would be required to make representations to central government should they desire the mayor's income to be regarded as a fixed-term contract of employment that is pensionable.